8 of the best bike GPS units you can buy in 2020
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Looking for a bike computer that can guide the way and track your rides? The following bike GPS units are so good, you won't want to leave home without them.
The term 'cockpit’ has always seemed a tad grandiose for some handlebars, a stem and a set of brake levers. But position a cutting-edge bike GPS device centre stage, and it begins to feel a bit more fitting.
If you’re serious about your cycling, a bike computer isn’t as much a luxury as it is an essential. It’s one of the fundamental bits of kit that should be with you on every ride, and once you start riding with one you’ll never leave home without it.
A good bike GPS will save you from fumbling with your phone for directions at every turn, allows you to pre-plan complex routes and enables you to keep track of all manner of fitness and ride data to make your training as efficient and effective as possible. In fact, some of the really fancy ones will do much more than that, too.
From the feature-packed and premium to the simple and affordable, these are the best bike GPS units to buy in 2020.
1. Beeline Velo
Bike GPS devices tend to be exercises in excess. They’re geared towards athletes as opposed to commuters, meaning everyday riders often end up paying a premium for something jammed full of features that, realistically, they’re never going to use.
That’s where the Beeline Velo comes in. This nifty little device is aimed at casual riders who need simple directions for navigating unfamiliar urban areas. Its display is deliberately uncluttered and minimalist, showing simply direction of travel, distance to the next turn, direction of the next turn and journey progress. It’ll also alert you if you stray off route so that you can make a correction before you end up five miles in the wrong direction.
Routes are planned using the accompanying app, which uses Google Maps data and is nice and simple to use. If you’re looking for a no-frills computer to streamline your commutes, this could be the device you’re after.
2. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt
If you’re all about those aero gains, then the Elemnt Bolt from Wahoo could be the device for you. Everything about this bite-sized computer has been meticulously designed to reduce drag as much as possible, right down to the way the unit snaps seamlessly onto the mount.
The Bolt is made for those who like to go fast and is a fitness tracker first and foremost. Still, the navigation is easy to understand, reliable and offers simple turn-by-turn directions to keep you on the right track.
The best thing about it is the simplicity. Set-up is a breeze, using an on-screen QR code to pair the device to your phone, and things don’t get any more complicated from there. There are no frilly gimmicks – there’s not even a colour display – but there doesn’t need to be. Everything about it just works.
3. Garmin Edge 520 Plus
Garmin’s mid-range 520 Plus is an updated version of the brand’s highly popular 520 computer that boasts increased battery life, turn-by-turn navigation, improved mapping and route recalculation.
In terms of navigation, it doesn’t put a foot wrong and the colour map is clear, easy to read and well laid out. The preloaded Strava live segments are a nice feature too, allowing you to compete against your personal best and see the results on the screen in real time. Plus, the rerouting function means that if you get distracted and miss a turn, getting back on track is nice and straightforward.
Training wise, there’s the usual advanced performance monitoring, as well as plenty of options for customising data screens and activity profiles.
4. Lezyne Mega C
Garmin and Wahoo are the obvious choices when it comes to selecting a GPS device for your bike but Lezyne shouldn’t be overlooked. The American brand is best known for its lights but its range of computers is well worth checking out too, particularly if you’re looking for a change from the usual suspects.
The device pairs with the Ally V2 app, which is to Lezyne what the Connect app is to Garmin or the Elemnt Companion app is to Wahoo. It has a bright, colour display that is perfect for navigation and everything is controlled via just four buttons – two on each side of the device.
The Mega C also comes with a special trick up its sleeve. It’s delivered with a smart rear light which can be controlled via the device or your smartphone. This allows you to keep an eye on battery level and change the flashing mode on the go without having to move your hands away from the cockpit.
5. Garmin Edge 530
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Edge 530 and Edge 830 (below) for the same device. To look at, they’re very much alike and the similarities aren’t just skin deep, either.
The two devices share almost all of the same features, the key difference being that the 530 is button operated whereas the 830 uses a touchscreen. That one difference shaves almost £100 off the price of the 530 compared to the 830, making it a great choice for those looking for flagship features at a more affordable price.
6. Wahoo Elemnt Roam
Garmin has had the bike GPS market sewn up for a long time, but Wahoo’s Elemnt Roam brings some serious competition to the table. Much like the speed-orientated Wahoo Element Bolt, the Roam lives up to its name. This is a computer designed first and foremost for exploring, which is instantly apparent when you begin to experiment with its mapping and navigation.
Much like it’s aero-focused younger sibling, the Elemnt Roam’s beauty lies in its simplicity. There’s no confusion when using the device to navigate. It’s intuitive and includes lots of user-friendly shortcuts to make exploring new roads as fuss-free as possible. The ‘Get Me Started’ function will take you from wherever you are to the start of a planned route. The ‘Back On Track’ feature will guide you back to your route should you veer off course. And the ‘Route To Start’ function will find the quickest way back to the beginning of your route. All with easy-to-follow, turn-by-turn directions.
Aside from that, it’s packed with all the usual fitness data you’d expect to find in a computer at this price point, as well as a battery life of up to 17 hours.
7. Garmin Edge 830
With its responsive touchscreen display, 20-hour battery life and an impressive array of metrics, the Garmin Edge 830 is one of the most advanced GPS bike computers on the market. Don’t let its small size fool you – there’s a lot going on under the hood.
Spec-wise, the 830 is very similar to the 1030 Plus’ predecessor, the 1030. The key differences being a considerably smaller screen and a marginally less eye-watering price tag. Yet, despite the drop in price, the 830 still boasts the industry-leading mapping and navigation technology seen in its bigger sibling, as well as all the same fitness data, customisation, and smart functions.
It’s a great option for anyone who wants the functionality and features of Garmin’s flagship devices but isn’t overly concerned about the larger screen.
8. Garmin Edge 1030 Plus
The Garmin Edge 1030 is the American brand's flagship bike computer. If you want the best of the best, this Swiss Army knife of a device is about as good as it gets.
The navigation is clear, uncluttered and with just the right amount of detail, while the large backlit screen makes it a breeze to read, even in sub-optimal conditions. It also enables the user to create routes on the device itself rather than having to rely on third-party apps like Komoot and Strava. Although, if you’d prefer to do things that way, you can.
Navigation is just the tip of the iceberg here, though. The 1030 Plus also measures just about every metric you could think of – even MTB dynamics like jump count, jump distance and air time. It’ll also suggest workouts based on your training, give you nutrition and hydration alerts and keep doing it all for up to 24 hours off a single charge.